Predictable “Dog Days” a Bland Comfort
If you haven’t gotten your fill of the Hallmark Channel – and really, could anyone ever sate their craving for the banal – “Dog Days” is for you. Sweet, predictable and just so, so cute, this sit-com writ large will appeal to those seeking nothing more than a pleasant excuse to get out of the sun for two hours and turn off their brains so that they might mindlessly shove popcorn in their mouths and revel in the adorable qualities displayed on screen. If you like dogs, even a little bit, you’ll probably get sucked in as well.
Taking place in the nicer sections of Los Angeles, the film focuses on a group of very attractive people who are all seeking happiness in their sun-drenched lives. Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) is nursing a broken heart; Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) is over the moon for Dr. Mike (Michael Cassidy), so much so she ignores nice-guy Garrett (Jon Bass) who owns a dog shelter and pines for her; meanwhile, wannabe rocker Dax (Adam Pally) agrees to watch out for his pregnant sister’s (Jessica St. Clair) pooch, a favor that will change his life in ways he can’t imagine. And just how does football player Jimmy (Tone Bell) figure into this? Well, you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for that narrative shoe to drop. Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not note that most of these folks have doggies and, wouldn’t you know it, they all go to the same veterinarian.
Well, before you can say, “Meet cute,” these folks are meeting cute, often because of those darn dogs, who as every one knows are the ultimate icebreakers and conversation starters. While not revolving around a canine-induced love connection, another story unspools involving a widower (Ron Cephas Jones) who’s lost his dog and the pizza delivery kid (Finn Wolfhard) who helps him look for the wayward pooch and a married couple (Rob Corddry & Eva Longoria) who are struggling to make their newly-adopted daughter (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro) feel at home.
It’s hard to be critical of such a well-intentioned film. Picking at it is as cruel as making a snobbish opera lover sit through this movie. However, there is something comforting to the predictability of all of this, as well as being reminded of why we have and love dogs. We live vicariously through them, we tell them our problems knowing full well they understand and relate to what we are going through and, most importantly, they are a comfort to have around. There really is nothing like the unconditional love a dog gives you when it seems the whole world is against you. For instance, after sitting through this trite collection of cliches, I went home to sit with my beagle Gracie. I wasn’t surprised that this made things all better.